The Triad Blackhawks, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to positive coaching, provides lacrosse programs for U11, U13, U15, and high school players (teaching the boys' game) in the Triad area of North Carolina. The Blackhawks conduct clinics as well as house and travel programs throughout the year and have participated in numerous tournaments and scrimmages, including its own Holiday Toy Classic, since its founding in fall 2008.
The Triad Blackhawks organization was formed in order to use sports as a positive developmental tool for youth in the Triad. We aim to teach and evaluate players and foster the love and enjoyment of the game, recognizing that the true role of lacrosse as well as other sports is as a larger part of the overall educational process. We will evaluate our program not on its profits (we are non-profit) or our number of wins (we certainly want to win -- indeed, in summer 2011 we qualified for the national Dicks Sporting Goods Tournament of Champions -- but the measure of our success will be how we compete and improve against high quality competition). We seek to expand Triad lacrosse opportunities to all who wish to play, irrespective of a player's financial means. The development of our players, not our profits or the egos of our coaches, will be paramount. We will never ask or require (or give financial incentives such as referral fees to) our coaches to recruit players to our program. Like all programs, we will make mistakes, but we will respond positively to those mistakes in the best interests of our players. We value every one of our players and their parents, but we require that our players and their parents respect and abide by our rules and policies. In our view, no amount of lacrosse talent excuses bad behavior. We will encourage multi-sport participation (both to avoid burnout and to foster well-rounded athletic development) and pride ourselves on the many Blackhawk players who participate in multiple sports. We will support the efforts of our players to play in college, but we will speak honestly to them about the demands that will be made on them by college athletic programs and about the realistic opportunities to receive athletic-based financial aid. While a college's athletic program should certainly be a factor in any college decision, we will encourage our players to choose their colleges primarily on the basis of the college's academic merit for that particular player. We still believe that the great game of lacrosse should be treated as a sport to be enjoyed and not as a job.
Blackhawks Coaching Philosophy
Some features of our programs include:
- A commitment to positive coaching
- Affordable pricing, as part of our commitment to reduce economic barrier in the sport, and the availability of financial aid based upon need
- House (non-travel) leagues
- The popular HOTT (Heart of the Triad) Lax Leagues
- The Stick it to Hunger Charity Lacrosse Classic
- The K-Vegas Classic, a summer tournament
- Our novel "Lightning Lax" tournaments
- Guest coaches teaching particular aspects of the game
- Strength, conditioning, and agility instruction
- A clinic entitled, "Experiencing a College Lacrosse Practice"
- Player evaluation using the Blackhawks evaluation matrix
- Intrasquad and local scrimmages
- Use of radar to evaluate shot velocity, comparing strong hand vs. weak hand
- A quantitative assessment of speed, agility, passing, and ground ball efficiency
- A spring club team for players whose high schools do not field lacrosse teams
- A "stick" clinic that addresses stick stringing, stick legality, and position-specific heads, mesh, and stringing
- Opportunities to try out for the Blackhawks travel team
- Support of local lacrosse initiatives and programs through the Triad Black Hawk Fund